Even Prophets Love Big Macs

What You’ve Missed…
* The book of Ecclesiastes.  It’s more depressing than hearing someone say, “I like Twilight because I think it was really well written.”
* It’s more depressing than the ending to Million Dollar Baby.  Or Gran Torino.  Or any Clint Eastwood movie where he’s a bitter old man who acts his way into your heart, only to crush it with his fantastic writing and directing prowess.
* It’s more depressing than knowing I will never, ever marry Jennifer Connelly. (Sniff.)
* Six chapters of 1 Kings, listing a number of kings ruling in Israel and Judah, including Jehoshaphat, who never even jumps once. Lame.

Day 162
Daily Reading: 1 Kings 17-19

Growing up in Sunday school, I often heard about the prophet Elijah.  He’s considered a pretty big deal, and all good Christians are supposed to know all about him.  Well, I’ve been faking it all this time, because all I really know is that he called down fire from heaven once.  And that one time he was in a cave and heard God’s voice as a whisper.  (Christians quote that one ALL the time.)  I’ve heard other stories, but they’re all kind of fuzzy, partly because I’ve never read them for myself, and partly because I get them mixed up with the stories of his assistant, named Elisha.  (Like the Bible isn’t confusing enough already.)

Anyway.  So I’m reading about all these kings, when all of a sudden the Bible just starts talking about Elijah out of nowhere.  And yes, it mentions him calling down that fire, and being in the cave, and bringing a dead kid back to life and other stories I probably should have known already.  That stuff’s fascinating and everything, but the author has thrown some other gems in there I never heard about, and they kind of blew my mind.  For example, Elijah could run faster than Superman.

If I had heard that when I was eight, then the Bible would have had my attention more than the Sunday comics.  But no one told me, and so Calvin and Hobbes became the most influential writing in my life for the next 10 years.

But I digress.  Where was I?  Ah yes, Elijah and his gift of super-speed.  So, what the heck am I talking about? Check this out:

“…Then Elijah shouted (to his servant), ‘Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home, If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you.’ ’ … A heavy wind brought a terrific storm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezereel. Then the LORD gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezereel.”  (1 Kings 18:44-46)

Dude had “special strength” and ran AHEAD of a quickly moving chariot.  Basically, God turned him into The Flash for the afternoon. No big deal.

But that’s just the beginning, because it turns out, Elijah experienced tons of crazy stuff.  At one point God tells him to go camp out and live by some river, and that birds will bring him food.

“So Elijah did as the LORD told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook.” (1 Kings 17:5-6)

Keep in mind he didn’t train these birds.  They just brought him stuff.  And we’re not talking twigs and berries and worms.  They brought meat, and bread.  In short, the guy was feasting on free Big Macs left and right.  Delivered personally by Mother Nature herself.

Here’s one more.  Elijah encounters King Ahab’s servant, Obadiah, and asks him to go tell the king he’d like to meet with him. Obadiah isn’t too thrilled because the king isn’t much of an Elijah fan, and Obadiah thinks Elijah might not be there when the king arrives, and that the king will kill Obadiah for all the trouble. But here’s the crazy part. Obadiah doesn’t think Elijah will just wander off like every awestruck kid in Toys ‘R’ Us, but is afraid of something else entirely.

“…as soon as I leave you, the Spirit of the LORD will carry you away to who knows where…” (1 Kings 18:12)

Another translation (The Message) says, “…as soon as I leave, the Spirit of the LORD will whisk you away…and you’ll have disappeared.”  So, what our boy Obadiah is really talking about here is that God will just teleport Elijah somewhere.  It sounds crazy to me too.  But here’s what really gets me.  Why would Obadiah even assume this is what would happen?  It’s pretty ridiculous to assume the default probability of the situation is that God would just “whisk someone away.”  Unless you live in a different universe than I do, where Scotty beams people up left and right in real life, then there’s clearly something wrong with Obadiah’s thinking here.

Here’s what I think is happening: Elijah has a reputation for being whisked away by the Spirit of God.  That it happens to him often enough for people to assume it could happen at any moment.  That’s how I see it.  And that’s straight up crazy.

So, in conclusion, Elijah was The Beastmaster, The Flash, and the dude from Quantum Leap, who brought someone back from the dead.  Now there’s a 3D summer blockbuster that’s worth $14.

Where Da Gold At?

What You’ve Missed…
* Psalms NOT written by King David.
* Psalms NOT about melting people like wax, or butter, or my heart after watching Life is Beautiful.  (Why must you make me laugh and THEN cry Roberto Benigni?)
* David’s son Solomon becomes king.  A rich king.  A VERY rich king.

Day 145
Daily Reading: 2 Chronicles 8-9, 1 Kings 10

This past week, each daily Bible reading has been about King Solomon establishing himself and ruling as the king of Israel.  There have been some interesting moments here and there, but as I’ve read, one singular and definitive theme has arisen from the pages of this sacred and holy book.  And that theme is this…

Solomon’s life was ridiculous.

Allow me to elaborate.  Solomon’s reign begins like this,

“So Solomon took the throne of the LORD in place of his father, David, and he succeeded in everything, and all Israel obeyed him.”  (1 Chronicles 29:23)

That’s a pretty solid start.  Succeeding at everything and having everyone obey you right out of the gate?  The guy’s clearly destined for a charmed life.  But stay with me dear reader, because we’re about to leave a charmed life in the dust.

Later Solomon marries the Pharaoh of Egypt’s daughter, a princess basically (who was probably crazy hot, especially with all that alluring, heavy Egyptian eyeliner they had goin’ on.)  Then he starts work on building a temple for God.  I’ll give you the short version.  The place is basically constructed out of gold and the finest materials in the world, which are offered to him in exchange for food.  Food!  That’s a ridiculous business transaction!

Then Solomon builds a palace for himself that is basically twice as big as the temple he built for God, and takes three times longer to construct.  Oh, and it’s also practically made out of gold.  The dude was rolling in so much gold, no one even cared about much else.

“All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the palace.  They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day.”  (1 Kings 10:21)

How rich are you when silver is considered worthless?  Crazy rich  Ridiculously rich.  Richie Rich rich.

But it gets better.  Solomon also had a fleet of ships that would return every three years loaded with gold and other valuable stuff.  And by “other valuable stuff” I mean monkeys.  Those ships returned with not just boatloads (literally) of cash, but with boatloads of monkeys too.  (He pretty much had his own little army of monkeys, which is kind of most guys’ dream really.  Especially if they’re dressed up in tiny hats.  The monkeys.  Not the guys.)

We’re not done yet.  As if being the most ridiculously rich man in the world wasn’t enough, God comes to Solomon and says He’ll give Solomon whatever he asks for.  Now I don’t know about you, but I’d probably blow that wish on like, a cool, robot-best-friend, or a talking dog or a girlfriend who loves video games or something.  But not Solomon.  The dude wants to be a good king, and so he asks God for wisdom.  And God is pleased with this answer, and so He gives Solomon wisdom, declaring him the wisest man to ever live.  Period.  For all time.  (Oh, and God’s so pleased with this answer, He throws in wealth and fame as freebies.)

So, now we have this incredibly rich guy, who’s also the smartest man to ever walk the face of the earth.  Rarely in life does anyone ever get to claim either one of these titles, and Solomon is simply GIVEN both of them.  He didn’t earn either one.  Are you kidding me!?

The years pass.  Solomon gets richer (and by richer, I mean he received 25 tons of gold a year.  25 tons!  Every year!  C’mon!  Does that much gold even exist?  I don’t even think Scrooge McDuck had that much gold.  Or the Mobile, Alabama Leprechaun.)  As time goes by Solomon becomes crazy famous and one day the Queen of Sheba comes to see if all the rumors and legends of his vast wealth and knowledge are true.  She discovers not only the rumors are true, but that they don’t even come close to describing how fantastic he actually is.

“She exclaimed to the king, ‘Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom are true! … In fact, I had not heard the half of it!  Your wisdom and prosperity are far beyond what I was told. … Praise the LORD your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne of Israel.’ … Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels.”  (1 Kings 10:6-10)

Did you catch that?  People are just giving this guy stuff for being so awesome.  They’re all like, “Oh, you’ve got tons of awesome stuff, and you’re totally awesome?  Well, here, I’d like to give you tons more awesome stuff.  For free.  No, no I don’t need it. You have tons.  You have more than everyone.  You should have this stuff too.”

It’s ridiculous.  Not even George Clooney lives this good.